Adventures with the Outdoor Program

When I first walked outside last Sunday morning, the last thing I wanted to do was get wet. There was a distinct chill in the air early in the morning, as well as a slight breeze. But I was determined to still go river rafting – there was no way I was going to miss it my senior year. The day had warmed up slightly by the time I met the other OP Staff at the bus to check everyone in.

A large group of girls (and one boy) in brightly colored swimsuits milled around the bus, eager for a day of whitewater rafting on the Payette River. After a ride that seemed to last no time at all, we had arrived in Banks, Idaho at the Bear Valley Rafting company. As we waited for our river guides to give us instructions, I made certain to stand in the sun and soak up as much warmth as I could before getting on the river.

In a short time, we had loaded our rafts, and we were off! The sun was brighter on the river, and I was feeling much warmer than I had earlier. The first couple of rapids we went through were pretty small, and we didn’t get very wet. As we approached our first big rapid of the day, our guide reminded us to make sure to paddle when he said, as well as to keep our feed wedged in the raft so we didn’t fall out. I prepared my paddle, wedged my foot, and looked forward eagerly to the whitewater ahead. The raft went over the first big rapid; before I even knew what was happening, I was slipping out of the boat. With an impossibly quick reaction by our guide, I was back in the boat, barely wet up to my waist. The rest of the ride was less dramatic, but still filled with exciting rapids riding the bull (the front of the raft).

After dragging the rafts out of the river, and watching in awe as the guides lifted them into an impossibly high stack on the trailer, the OP Staff headed to our van to devour whatever food we could (3 hours on the river makes you incredibly hungry). And then it was off to Sage Hen Reservoir! Through miles and miles of winding dirt roads, our C of I van and trailer was a bumpy ride (I definitely didn’t envy the driver).

When we finally arrived, Sage Hen reservoir was…a bit underwhelming, as there was barely any water in it. But we set up camp, and decided to walk down to the water anyway. It was strange walking across the dry lakebed, seeing all the cracked dirt under our feet, trying not to step on the hundreds of tiny frogs, and eventually, as we approached the water, getting our feet so muddy we thought we’d get stuck and having to turn back.

We had a wonderful night chatting around the campfire, and coming up with some great plans for this year’s outdoor adventures. Here’s to a great year with the OP!


Senior, International Political Economy major, from Salt Lake City Utah